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War of the Genders

A confrontational soapbox for rants and politically incorrect manifestos regarding feminism, chauvinism, dating and gender issues.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Over the centuries, women were treated as high-class nobility and men as peasants.

Men gave women their seats, worshipped their beauty, carried their luggage, performed all the hard work for them like mine for coal and work in the factories. Even gentlemen of the highest class held that in circumstances where a woman and a man are suffering from cold, it is the woman that must have the coat since she is more important. Women were bowed to, protected on the sidewalk from vehicles splashing through puddles, and doors must always be opened for them as befitting a queen.

Men protected, cherished and respected women. Some women may have been mistreated by beastly men, but so were noblemen at times. It is natural to periodically lash out in rage at your superiors, especially when your superiors are misbehaving. It was an age where chivalry and gallantry were social staples. Bowing to women and treating them as princesses were moral standards dogmatically taught to all lowly men.

Perhaps women were over-protected and seen as weak, but this was the same attitude towards noblemen by peasants. Women were deemed weaker because of their protected status. Their level of importance ensured that they need not know about such nasty matters of the world as labor, business and politics. All women had blue blood by birth.

Even when life and death were concerned, women always came first. Men fought wars to protect the women staying at home, and in life-and-death situations, it was common law that women were always saved first. A woman's honor was protected even at risk of life since what is a man's blood worth compared to a princess's dignity?

"It is an amazing thing to see in our city the wife of a shoemaker, or a butcher, or a porter dressed in silk with chains of gold at the throat, with pearls and a ring of good value... and then in contrast to see her husband cutting the meat,all smeared with cow's blood, poorly dressed, or burdened like an ass, clothed with the stuff from which sacks are made... but whoever considers this carefully will find it reasonable, because it is necessary that the lady, even if low-born and humble, be draped with such clothes for her natural excellence and dignity, and that the man less adorned as if a slave, or a little ass, born to her service."
— Lucrezia Marinella, Venice, Italy, 1600
The Nobility and Excellence of Women Together With the Defects and Deficiencies of Men

Thanks to Feminism we are now enlightened. We see that women are mere equals and that they don't deserve our special attentions and respect. Women are not of higher class by birth; They are down here in the gutter with the rest of us. No more shall we men treat ourselves as inferior beings. Thank you, Feminism.



So, let me get this right- we actually gave up stupid dresses and some gentleman gestures to actually live life?

October 17, 2005 1:11 am  

No, I mentioned a few things in my post slightly more important than dresses and manners...like life and death, war and hard labor. And women 'lived life' in the past their own way using different priorities and with their own disadvantages, just as men did.

However, I confess that I didn't really make my point clear and instead left this post as a little provocative piece. Is my argument nonsensical? Obviously it is, albeit it contains truths.

See, it's easy to exaggerate and twist things around as propaganda. Feminists keep railing about a woman's lower status and how they constantly get the short end of the stick. I could easily argue the same thing about men.

In fact I barely touched on the scores of arguments that show how men are disadvantaged today and in the past when it comes to social behaviour, benefits, law, career, nature, dating, marriage, etc.

This post is a counterpoint, an attempt to tip the scales back to their balancing point. Both men and women have been abused in different ways, lead hard lives and have social disadvantages, and it would be a mistake to emphasize one over the other and whine endlessly about such myths as 'lower status'.

As an example, take the workforce. The way I see it, work was always seen as a necessary evil, not the glamorous career and meaning of life it is today. One can argue that if women were kept at home it was because they were 'allowed' to stay at home due to their protected status instead of breaking their backs in the field, mines, factories, etc.

Saying that women didn't 'live life' then is exactly the kind of mistake I'm pointing out here.

You want to correct a gender inequality and change the way people live today? Fine. But stop exaggerating inequalities out of proportion, twisting facts and painting history as a chauvinistic hellhole just to get what you want. And don't be surprised when men look to address their disadvantages as well.

October 18, 2005 4:31 pm  

Living life to me means being able to experience the good things and the bad things that life has to offer… so fighting war and going to work were rights women gained not necessarily prices they paid. Women today are still fighting for these rights – they are still fighting their way into combat units and still fighting for jobs that used to belong only to men.

Of course men had and still have their own share of disadvantages. Your post has many truths and makes a good point. There is also no doubt that in some eras women had it much better than men. However, as a whole history is a chauvinistic hellhole, as is most of the undeveloped world today.

October 18, 2005 7:15 pm  


"Women today are still fighting for these rights – they are still fighting their way into combat units and still fighting for jobs that used to belong only to men".

Do they fight to become steelworkers or garbage woman? Not in my country, here it's about the nice jobs.

I've no doubt they fight to get into combat units in Israel, right so if there's conscription for women. Maybe they'll fight to get into combat units in my contry one day - on an voluntary basis - they'll never fight to get conscription ;-).

"However, as a whole history is a chauvinistic hellhole, as is most of the undeveloped world today".

The developed world has abolished fathers and by that forefathers and by that the ethics of the forefathers, that's the hellhole we live in.

I'm living in an county with a divorce rate of some 56% of which 2/3 are brought in by women. Getting a woman and a family has become an incalculable risk. The better ones stopped taking that risk. And that is the real counterpoint!

October 23, 2005 7:15 pm  

I doubt most women felt oppressed because they could not get the kind of jobs they had then. Now that jobs have all these benefits and involves sitting around on a chair all day while making money, obviously women want it.

As lanan said, I don't see women fighting to work in garbage collection or oil rigs. I don't see them fighting to draft women in the the USA either. It's all very nice to volunteer and have the choice to go to the army in order to 'live life', but women still don't get drafted like men and they obviously like it that way.

I agree that women were limited in some areas during certain periods. But the key word here is perspective. Hellhole it wasn't. Women had some disadvantages, and so did men. Same as today...although it's rapidly becoming an exclusive hellhole for men given the massive advantages women have nowadays.

October 23, 2005 9:36 pm  


"I don't see them fighting to draft women in the the USA either. It's all very nice to volunteer and have the choice to go to the army in order to 'live life', but women still don't get drafted like men and they obviously like it that way".

Well it's worse. Here women not just don't fight to get drafted, they don't fight against conscription at all, they like it as long as it's a disadvantage to men. The United States are a bad example, since there's no conscription.

The same applies to carriers, when it comes to quotas, which alas - living in a brutal country - contains a pitfall. Either they got jobs in civil service provided by quotas, leaving market carriers and thus real power to men, or they simply got screwed up in the market area when getting older. Either by being spit out of the job when becoming mothers or never becoming mothers at all.

October 23, 2005 11:53 pm  

To give it an economical spin, the disadvantages to women are certainly nothing what happend throughout history, but had been introduced in modern times.

There's almost no way to discrete house work and labour work in rural life up to the second part of the last century. In preindustrial times that also might have applied to the way goods were manufactured including women in family-businesses.

Just with the upcomming industrialisation there was sole labour work as means for making your live. Women being excluded from that labour stopped in WW1. So actually we're talking about some 50 years they in fact had disadvantages. Though one might argue, if it really was a disadvantage given the labour conditions at that time.

Again there were two or three decades of disadvantages after WW2 when in most european countries systems of social welfare were established and women were excluded of getting pensions when they stayed home. Doing that raising children was the only way to get a pension at all before. That was mostly corrected by divorce law during the seventies.

So when talking about disadvantages or even discrimination of women, we 're talking about a period that lasted rather decades than centuries. I'm always amazed to see that facts completely turned around.

October 25, 2005 6:00 pm  

So what you're saying is that the concept of a 'career' only started with the industrial age and therefore this 'career chauvinism' could only have lasted a short while. This is an interesting point and it is probably true that many 'businesses' throughout history were family-run and included women.

Off the top of my head, I also recall that Karen Blixen had a career both as a writer and a plantation owner during the period of WWI-WWII.

But the feminist argument isn't as sweepingly simple as that. It claims that women were blocked from certain high positions or specific jobs (which was probably true for a while even after WWI), that up to the 19th century, property laws stopped married women from owning property, that women couldn't vote, etc.

So for example, even if married women worked in a family business, that didn't necessarily mean they could own and run it themselves although I'm not sure exactly how and when they were limited. Feel free to fill me in on the details.

But even with all this, I still think it's obvious that it has been twisted out of proportion. Modern women commit an anachronistic error by assuming that careers and 'living life' was as easy or desirable as it is now. And this is assuming the facts haven't been exaggerated.

Also, as mentioned, there's a big difference between having a choice to 'live life' and being forced to mine for coal and fight wars. Women constantly seem to be treated with silk gloves whereas men are forced to do the hard work whether they like it or not. Who else is going to collect the garbage if not men? I don't see women running to 'live life' when it stinks.

And from what I understood, the USA does have a draft/conscription during wars but women have always been exempt.

October 25, 2005 7:11 pm  

Well, what I meant was actually, that one can't claim a sort of all over discrimination, because things were different in different locations at different times

In Germany women were granted the right to vote in 1919, exactly when men were granted that right in a common fashion. Before 1919 (mens) votes were weighted upon social status. Throughout Europe the right to vote for women was introduced shortly after introducing a common right to vote. It's not plausible to argue, that women were discriminated, when not being able to vote, while men could not do it either.

When it comes to family businesses, speaking of discrimination by prohibiting ownership of property is fairly baseless. You had to live in a family and raising children simply
to get a life and a pension. By that raising children was part of labour-work and owning property. It economically was part of womens power, not a disadvantage.

That was true until in european countries social welfare, especially pensions were introduced as fulltime pensions. So paying social welfare fees and by that owning a pension was based on having a job. Fulltime pensions by welfare fees were introduced in the 1950's. This had been a major disadvantage to women
who stayed home and raised children,
which was corrected in the 70's either by divorce laws in some countries or setting up official childcare in other countries. Certainly things are different in the United States.

So looking further to european contries, there's a funny clue to the argument that getting a life is not quite that optional. In those countries providing extensive childcare as in France or Belgium the rate of women in top positions is much higher than in those who provide security to women by pampering divorce laws, as it is in Germany or Italy.

Cooperation of sexes throughout history was a neccessity to survive rather than a hellhole of discrimination. That balance has always been periodically pertubated when technical and economical changes altered the means of living your life. Feminists arguments as you stated above are almost solely based on todays assumptions, neglecting different conditions in other times. That's a sort of mythological thinking which is far more than just out of balance. In short that religion states, women are discriminated today as far as feminists don't fight it. Todays situation is much better thanks feminism, so it was worse 50 or 100 years ago. Before modern times it
was certainly worse, as it was in medieval times and before that it uhhm was even much more worse. Trace it back to matrimonial times, where it for sure was better. It's
simply a neopagan religion, uprooting our culture, which it does not know any more.

No respect, no knowledge, no responsibility. Those feminists who want even more pampering laws, certainly don't qualify for top positions and that's not a disadvantage but a simple fact. Albeit that simple fact does not restore the balance. Again and again I'm amazed by that lack of scope.

Thinking of disadvantages to men, I wouldn't bother about that too much. Jobs becoming nicer also served for men. On of the most influential businesses of our time is IT and that's for sure a mans world. So having no option clearly has its chances ;-) ...

October 26, 2005 2:22 pm  

Very interesting information. Thank you.

Regarding voting: I looked it up and found plenty of information on Universal Suffrage which confirms what you said.

For example, a typical suffrage page like this one would focus on women's suffrage in different countries and neatly ignore the fact that there were other types of people that couldn't vote in these countries at the time.

Pages like this and this clearly state that not only were men of different races not allowed to vote, but even ownership of property and social class were criteria up until the 19th century.

Of course it doesn't help that women as a whole were consistently grouped together with the disenfranchised but it does put things back into perspective.

Regarding property law: You argue regarding pensions and family businesses but I'm not sure how this changes the fact that married women were not allowed to own property or sign contracts except through their husbands.

If a man were in charge of family finances and he brought home the bacon, then a woman's denied right to own property and sign contracts would make sense. But the problem starts when the woman works and contributes financially, yet she remains completely dependent on her husband. It's one thing to say that marriage and family finances were once based more on co-operation, but what happens when the marriage goes bad?

October 26, 2005 3:58 pm  

My first point is that house work including the raise of children was in fact contributing financially to the familiy, because there was no way to get a pension without children. That changed.

The second question is simply a question of relevance. Having had a divorce in medieval times was certainly easier with a jewish background than having a christian one. That is not to say there was no way to get divorced in christian medieval times. But that was far from being common. Again I don't see it as a measure of oppression, but as a simple neccessity to survive. It was'nt so funny being punished of cheating your wife or husband in medieval time, so it was'nt getting divorced. I don't see the risk of a divorce only as a womans burden at that time.

Given the lack of options marriage was simply not romantic and homogamia not just common among the nobles.

Funny enough that given modern divorce laws homogamia again makes sense. The least divorced marriages in Germany are those were both partners financially contribute in a comparable manner, have a high income and no children, i.e. were the financial losses of a divorce are shared equally. In France or Belgium that may also fit for marriages including children.

Ok not to be misunderstood, I don't think it's a good idea to prohibit property and I certainly won't have back that times, but prohibiting property does'nt mean that it's compulsarily misused by the one who is granted that right. The idea, that not having rights normal to us in our time, will automatically create some form of slavery, is nonsense. As you stated, women were'nt treated as slaves, but mostly respectful.

Well, that obviously does'nt count for those women who in fact were slaves, but what about the numbers of lynched male slaves compared to female slaves?

Since rights create responsibillty and hence there's social control of taking that responsibillity, things are in an equillibrum.

October 26, 2005 5:51 pm  

Think I used an ambivalent term when speaking of homogamy. I don't mean inbreading, but marriage with a person of same social status. Just to be sure ...

October 28, 2005 11:28 am  

So, if I may rephrase what you're trying to say, independence wasn't an important goal at the time. Jobs were mostly family oriented, 'pensions' depended on children, divorce was rare, financial stability was co-dependent, and raising a family did not harm any 'career' - quite the opposite.

If you look back a hundred years with the question 'what about women's independence?' then it's easy to yell discrimination. But if you look at it in the proper context and with the values and challenges of the period, the issues were not as important or obvious as they are today.

I still think however that despite the relatively (for that time) favorable conditions for women, in a situation where a woman is abused or finds herself in a very bad marriage, her options would be very limited. That seems to be a valid complaint and could easily give rise to specific hellish situations. In other words, if feminists argued that women weren't given enough tools to protect themselves then that would probably be valid. The mistake is in arguing that women were discriminated against and treated as inferior in general just because roles weren't distributed equally.

P.S. Another thought regarding voting: The right to vote was seen as a right awarded to people active in politics or playing a significant part for the country. For this reason, social class, owning property, or fighting in wars were criteria, and women, who were excluded from all this, were denied the right to vote. Social class was also considered a crtierion because political philosophers necessitated independence of thought and freedom from various social pressures in order to vote. It's only later that the concept of a 'natural right' to self-govern by voting for your own representatives was generally adopted. In other words, it can be argued that these laws weren't directed against women but were a consequence of women's roles of the time.

October 28, 2005 4:34 pm  

I think we're arguing along the same line and your "feminist" advocatus diabolo argumentation certainly is appreciated to sharpen thoughts.

Two of your quotes:

"The mistake is in arguing that women were discriminated against and treated as inferior in general just because roles weren't distributed equally".

I would say:

The mistake is in arguing that women were discriminated against and treated as inferior in general just because roles weren't distributed equally not only in terms of gender.

Men who did'nt play a certain role were'nt treated equally either

"In other words, it can be argued that these laws weren't directed against women but were a consequence of women's roles of the time".

As it were the "roles" of most men.

I don't like the term role, it was real to both of them.

Getting seperated from your wife, divorce is simply not the right term in this context, could easily mean, being expelled from the church. What seems to be a modest risk today, back in the middle ages meant loosing all protection in social, economical and juridical terms, becoming an outcast. Which offered men great carrier opportunities in professional fields like robbery or piracy. Well, that could give rise to specific hellish situations as well ...

October 28, 2005 7:58 pm  

Well, I think we explored these points well enough for now. I'd just like to add a few new items I found:

Regarding the attitude towards women in the 19th century when factory labor was harsh:

Factory Acts of the 19th century during the beginning of the industrial revolution limited the amount of time that women could be made to work in factories. Men had to wait 30 more years until 1874 to get the same protection from the government.

During WWI in the UK, part of the women's war effort was to coerce and humiliate men to enlist in the army by pledging not to be seen with an able man who didn't join the army, giving them white feathers, etc. What happened to wanting to live life then? Why didn't all this effort go into fighting to include women in the army?

In 1820 the British Parliament enacted a law whereby only women would no longer be subject to the corporal punishment of flogging.

And here's a priceless one: 19th century British and American law required a husband to go to debtors' prison even if it was his wife who spent them into debt. I.e. men might have the exclusive right to own property and manage finances, but she got to spend it and it was his responsibility and his job to handle the disadvantages of such a responsibility.

October 29, 2005 8:01 pm  

"I.e. men might have the exclusive right to own property and manage finances, but she got to spend it and it was his responsibility and his job to handle the disadvantages of such a responsibility."

Yup that's exactly what I meant when saying that rights implies responsibility, and since there's social control of it things are in an equilibrum. I'm sure anything around gender conflicts could be explained using some form of equilibrum theory, it would be of great fun to explore it mathematicaly by means of game theory ;-) ...

Some years ago I had some korean friends. Asian culture might be seen as upmost patriarchic. Nevertheless women are in charge of the financial business within families. Men are the ones who work, but give all the money to their wifes. She has to take care of it, invest it, and run the families finances. Men are handed out some form of pocket money, they could buy a beer or maybe two, not more.

Well that's perfectly fine with me, as long as things are in an equillibrum. As one of the korean females once fairly amused stated, that tradition nowadays poses a special threat to men. As divorce rates are rising in Korea, as anywhere else, men are left off with virtually nothing, having not even a clue about families finances. There's no social security, as there is no in the US, but there's not even an idea of charity either, as it always has been in the US or Europe.

Most korean women are getting divorced after children left home, i.e. about their fifties. From a mans point of view that's what I call really being fucked up.

As you just mentioned military service again, there's an amusing discussion in Germany these days. The newly asigned defense minister proposed a national nonmilitary service to which women should be drafted as well. The standard feminist reply to it was, it should only be discussed, if there was an law enforcement on men to take a mandatory baby year.

There are two things that are strikingly amusing and insightful on this comment.

First there is no law enforcement on women to become mothers in the fist place, as there is drafting of men.

And second, they don't want to have better child care getting their cariers not interfered, but they want to spoil mens cariers the same way theirs are spoiled when becoming children.

... just a very ugly face popping up there ...

October 29, 2005 9:42 pm  

Hmm certainly they become mothers not children, lol ...

...though that seems to "infantile" them again ...

October 29, 2005 11:23 pm  

A good discussion, but may I make some additional points:

1. Economic rights (e.g. to enter into a contract, to own property etc.) require a reciprocal responsibility: to make good on default. Who will contract with someone who can't always be held to their end of the bargain? Not only were women held to be the privileged and protected gender (a deep human instinct originating from the relative scarcity of eggs, wombs and breasts compared with sperm) but no budding state could risk alienating swathes of children by impoverishing or imprisoning women just for economic default. So until society became wealthy enough to educate, protect and support women should they suffer from a bad deal, economic equality was never an option.

2. As has been said, children were most people's pension. Children started working much earlier in life. Therefore divorce was more often a disadvantage to the man, not the woman, as she could be sure she wouldn't be left without support, thanks to her emotional grip on her kids. To some extent the law tried to compensate for this, but the natural advantage lay with the woman.

3. The arguments in support feminism are almost all post-hoc rationalisations. Something humans are expert at. Recent technological developments have meant that societies that encouraged women into the (easier sections of the) workforce succeeded better than those that didn't. Feminism was useful to galvinise this trend. It was never a coherent philosophy. That the gender arguments still focus on equality in production and ignore equality in reproduction demonstrates that.

I agree with Ianan. The amblyopia of feminism's historical perspective is truly breathtaking and disproves the theory that you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

March 16, 2006 3:01 pm  

Well, a typical feminist would argue that your arguments are based on the assumption that women should be the ones taking care of the children instead of going to work. If women would be allowed to choose between these lives then they would also be held responsible, given dangerous jobs, and be imprisoned as necessary. I.e. allowed to 'live life'.

But like you say, since women were seen as critical for the children, they could not be given other responsibilities that would endanger these motherly duties.

The important points here are that the 'lack of options' for women came with both advantages and disadvantages and emanated from a gender-specific distribution of duties rather than a view of women as inferior beings. Of course, nowadays, when careers have been glamorized, its easy to look back and assume women were locked up in kitchens like slaves.

What I got out of this discussion is that women and men were not equal but they were each given responsibilities they could not get out of and each had their advantages and disadvantages. Based on each of these viewpoints, either men or women could be seen as inferior but that would be missing the point.

I don't think your second argument holds water however since when children grow up they often become attached to their fathers and work for them. I think it's only young children that are much more attached to mothers in general.

March 19, 2006 6:31 am  

I have to say that I am impressed...very outspoken, but you've been hurt. Don't let that blind you.


March 09, 2008 9:36 pm  

What did I say exactly that caused you to conveniently pigeon-hole me as a victim? Maybe I just like debating on controversial issues.

Also, if I've been blinded by my pain as you say, doesn't this mean I'm biased and wrong? In which case why would you be impressed?

Sorry, but accusing me of being hurt is not going to make my logical arguments go away.

March 11, 2008 12:31 am  

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